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Is Jason Witten Looking At A Lesser Role In 2017?

Brian Martin

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Is Jason Witten Looking At A Lesser Role In 2017?
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

We all hate to think it. And I hate to even bring it up. But, it’s starting to look as if the Dallas Cowboys could be preparing themselves for life without one of the best players to ever wear the star on his helmet, Jason Witten. Unfortunately, the writing looks to be on the wall and the fan favorite tight end could possibly be looking at a lesser offensive role in 2017.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not ready to move on from Jason Witten or anything like that, and I’m not sure the Dallas Cowboys are either. If they were they wouldn’t have extended his contract during the off-season. But, Witten is surrounded by a lot of really good skill players and he’s reaching that age where athletes start to break down physically.

Jason Witten of course could be an exception to the rule. He may have lost a slight step, but he is still as talented and rocksteady as they come in the NFL. In fact, he has only missed one game in his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys. I can’t express enough how impressive that is. But, change seems to come when we least expect it and I think it could happen as soon as this season.

The playmakers the Cowboys currently have on their roster is arguably the best they’ve had at their disposal ever. Unfortunately, there are just so many balls to go around in the passing game and Jason Witten could find himself on the short end of the stick.

Jason Witten

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Dez Bryant is the healthiest he has been over the past several years and is looking to become the dominant WR he was before the nagging injuries started to plague him. Cole Beasley has mastered the art of getting open out of the slot and has become a security blanket for Dak Prescott, something Witten has excelled at throughout his career.

I fully expect Bryant and Beasley to receive the majority of the targets in 2017, which leaves Witten, Terrance Williams, and Brice Butler fighting over the scraps. Of course, part of those scraps will go to Ezekiel Elliott, who could be involved more in the passing game and Ryan Switzer, who could possibly threaten Witten’s role the most.

So, you can easily see how Jason Witten could have a lesser offensive role with the Cowboys as early as this season. There are just too many mouths to feed and the possibilities of what offensive coordinator Scott Linehan can do with all of these playmakers is unfathomable.

Witten of course will continue do go about his business no matter what role he has. But, if they decide to spread things out more in 2017, Witten could be looking at less and less opportunities in the receiving game. Fortunately though, his importance to the team is undeniable no matter what role he plays.

Statistics say that Jason Witten is the second best tight end to ever play in the NFL, but his importance to the Dallas Cowboys goes way beyond stats. He may be the “old man” of the team now, but the amount of respect his teammates have for him is undeniable. When there is a need for leadership, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the first person they all turn to.

Do you think Jason Witten will have a lesser role in 2017?

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Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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3 Comments
  • Mr. Jaguar

    With Rico getting more reps to making the transition smooth. I have to agree. In addition father time is still undefeated.

    • Brian Martin

      Rico Gathers still has a long ways to go before he can be relied upon. He will make the team, but will likely be inactive each week. He made some big plays, but he also made a lot of mistakes last week. He still has quite a ways to go in his development but his progress is promising.

  • Russ_Te

    It’s a good problem to have. Butler, Switzer and possibly Gathers figure to get significant snaps this year. But it’s perfect for having Witten at 100% down the stretch. He doesn’t have to be a workhorse now, and you know he wants a SB ring. Waiting until December to phase Witten back in as a major weapon, could be like aligning the planets.

Star Blog

Months Later, it Seems Jaguars S Barry Church was Right

Kevin Brady

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Months Later, Jaguars Safety Barry Church Wa E

About five months ago, before the 2017 NFL season had even begun, former Cowboys safety Barry Church made comments which made Cowboys Nation scratch their heads. Now a Jacksonville Jaguar, Church said his current team was more talented than his former, the Dallas Cowboys.

At the time, many fans and writers alike laughed off his comments and chalked it up to typical preseason hype. Most people thought Church was crazy for suggesting a 13-3 team had less talent than the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team led by Blake Bortles.

Well, five months later, it’s become clear Barry Church was right.

Brian Chojnacki on Twitter

Jaguars safety Barry Church says he feels this Jags team has more talent than his #Cowboys squad last season. Dallas went 13-3. https://t.co/EcbxfUGsvy

This weekend the Jaguars went on the road to Pittsburgh, and came away with a wire-to-wire victory in January. The Jaguars were the more physical team from start to finish, and dominated from the opening kick off.

On the road.

Against the vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now the Jaguars are preparing to do something the Cowboys haven’t done in two decades: play in a conference championship game.

The Jaguars and Cowboys will be linked for the next decade or so due to decisions each made during the 2016 NFL Draft. And while it appeared the Cowboys pushed all the right buttons in 2016, it now looks as if the Jaguars are preparing to compete for AFC supremacy for years to come.

With their talented secondary, dominant defense, and physical rushing attack, the Jaguars have built their team in the mold of past champions.

The Cowboys have attempted to do some of the same, but it certainly looks as if Barry Church was correct in his preseason assessment of the two rosters.

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Star Blog

Could the Dallas Cowboys Feature a New-Look Offense in 2018?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Could The Dallas Cowboys Feature a New-Look Offense in 2018?
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After a season of disappointment and under achievement, one word that creeps into every die-hard fan is change. Back in September, the Dallas Cowboys were one of the Las Vegas favorites to get to the Super Bowl. Naturally, after a 9-7 season, we all want some sort of change.

By now, we know that said change will not come in the form of a new head coach. Or, if we’re being honest with ourselves, probably not even in the form of different coordinators.

So, then what?

We’ve seen a coaching carousel lately in Dallas with a lot of moves going on. Just about every position coach is leaving or interviewing with other teams, Kellen Moore is set to be the new QBs coach and so on.

But heading into the offseason, it’s inevitable to think about how many changes we could see in the Cowboys’ offense.

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports)

Recently, fellow Staff Writer Brian Martin wrote about how the Cowboys should build a Prescott-friendly offense for Dak Prescott. Despite a struggling season, Dak Prescott shouldn’t be evaluated or replaced after just two seasons. Even if overreactions around Cowboys Nation tell you otherwise.

Even still, it’s more than fair to criticize an offense that was far from meeting expectations last season. All this leads to a lot of questions about where the future of this offense is headed.

Is Dez Bryant still worth the money he’s being paid?

Should he be officially replaced by another WR1, something he hasn’t been for a long time?

The Cowboys have a ton of needs, and even though we’re used to the idea of defense always being our top priority in the offseason, this time it might be different.

This team really needs to get Dak a best friend, a receiver who can create separation. A good route runner.

Who knows, maybe Dez isn’t here next season. But even if he is, he probably won’t be “the guy” when it comes to catching Dak Prescott’s passes.

Could The Dallas Cowboys Feature a New-Look Offense in 2018? 1

Dallas Cowboys WRs Ryan Switzer, Cole Beasley

What about Cole Beasley?

Whether we like it or not, he’s another guy whose play wasn’t as good as 2016. With him going into his final year under contract, is it possible the Cowboys explore other options?

Despite not getting a lot of playing time, Ryan Switzer showed very promising flashes when he was asked to fill Beasley’s spot in the season finale at Philadelphia. I can’t help wondering if Switzer will be able to earn a more involved role on offense as the slot wide receiver next year.

Perhaps in the long run, he’s the better option for the Cowboys instead of the guy who’ll be 29 when the 2018 season arrives.

Now, Jason Witten is my all-time favorite Dallas Cowboy. But if we’re being real with ourselves, even if he’s still as reliable as ever, he isn’t a very dangerous player anymore. The coaching staff should find a way to do something similar to what the Chargers have done with Antonio Gates and add a younger, more dangerous tight end to play alongside Witten.

Before the 2017 season began, the Cowboys were expected to be one of the best offenses in the NFL. They failed to meet expectations. We know the coaching staff isn’t changing at the “big three” positions, but maybe we see it in the form of players.

Could we see a new-look offense in Dallas next season?

Tell me what you think about “Could the Dallas Cowboys Feature a New-Look Offense in 2018?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: El Futuro de David Irving y DeMarcus Lawrence

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys en Español: El Futuro de David Irving y DeMarcus Lawrence
Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports

Es hora, inevitablemente, de pensar en la temporada lejana del 2018. Después de una difícil temporada, se viene un offseason con casi la misma dificultad para los Dallas Cowboys. Hace un año vimos una gran cantidad de jugadores irse de Dallas. Entre ellos, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church y Brandon Carr.

Ahora, la oficina de los Cowboys tiene la tarea de encontrar la manera de retener a jugadores como DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Anthony Hitchens, extender a Zack Martin más allá del 2018 y más.

No será una hazaña fácil, y las preguntas se extienden más allá de los jugadores mencionados. En Inside The Star, “Cowboys en Español” seguirá publicándose todos los viernes esta columna.

En la edición de esta semana, hablaremos sobre dos de los jugadores más importantes para los Cowboys esta temporada baja.

¿Qué Pasará con David Irving, DeMarcus Lawrence?

Por primera vez en mucho tiempo, los Cowboys tienen jugadores bastante prometedores en la línea defensiva. El problema es, que justo este año, es tiempo de asegurarse de que vuelvan a Dallas.

La situación con David Irving es un tanto complicada, pues a pesar de ya no estar bajo contrato con los Cowboys este 2018, es un agente libre “restringido.”

Para ser un agente libre “no restringido” (un agente libre común y corriente que puede ser perseguido por cualquier equipo), un jugador tiene que haber acumulado cuatro temporadas en la liga. Como no fue seleccionado en el Draft, Irving realmente firmó por tres años en el 2015 y no ha juntado sus cuatro años en la NFL.

David Irving, Redskins

Dallas Cowboys DL David Irving

Esto es lo que lo convierte en un “RFA”, agente libre restringido, por sus siglas en inglés. Esto significa que los Cowboys, en resumen, tienen la opción de igualar la oferta de cualquier otro equipo que quiera llevarse a Irving.

Esto se logra por medio de un “tender.” Hay varios tipos de tenders, y estos se clasifican por rondas. Por ejemplo, si los Cowboys decidieran asignarle un tender de segunda ronda a David Irving este año, se le pagaría alrededor de $3M.

Los valores de los tenders se determinan por el mercado de la NFL en general.

Ojo, aún con un tender asignado, otro equipo puede terminar con el jugador. ¿El detalle? Digamos que los Cowboys deciden darle a Irving un tender de segunda ronda. Si un equipo externo decide firmar a Irving, eso significa que tienen que darle a los Cowboys una selección de segunda ronda en el siguiente NFL Draft.

Esto asegura la posibilidad de quedarse con el jugador, pues es bastante complicado que un equipo desee tanto a un jugador que ni siquiera conoce lo suficiente como para entregar una selección de segunda ronda.

DeMarcus Lawrence Credits DT Maliek Collins For Early Season Dominance 1

Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence

Sin embargo, los Cowboys no tienen la misma suerte con DeMarcus Lawrence. Para quedarse a D-Law, habrá que hablar de números muy grandes.

Es difícil darle un contrato del calibre que se espera para Lawrence cuando realmente sólo ha tenido una buena temporada. Entre problemas de salud y lesiones, no fue hasta este año que DeMarcus realmente hizo un trabajo excelente.

¿Qué si Lawrence sólo puso una excelente temporada por ser “año de contrato” y realmente no tiene el nivel que aparenta?

No me sorprendería ver a los Dallas Cowboys darle una etiqueta franquicia.

Pero, ¿qué es eso?

Básicamente, una etiqueta franquicia es un trato de un año que obliga al jugador a quedarse en su equipo. Un equipo de la NFL sólo puede usar la etiqueta franquicia una vez al año.

Hay varios tipos, pero la idea es que al jugador se le paga el promedio de los mejores 5 pagados en su posición. A menos que sea la etiqueta de “transición” en la que se promedian los 10 mejores pagados, naturalmente haciéndola más barata.

Hablando de etiquetas franquicias, existe la exclusiva, la no-exclusiva y la de transición.

La primera, es sencillamente que ningún equipo puede intentar llevarse al jugador. En la no-exclusiva, cualquier equipo puede hacerle una oferta al jugador, y el equipo original tiene el derecho de igualarla.

Pero, si no la iguala… recibe dos selecciones de primera ronda como compensación. Esto, casi nunca sucede.

La verdad, creo que es el futuro de DeMarcus Lawrence. Me sorprendería mucho que le dieran un contratazo desde ahora, y la etiqueta franquicia suena como una buena opción. No me parece que se merezca una exclusiva, pero tampoco una de transición, que no ofrece compensación alguna.

Si los Cowboys logran quedarse con David Irving por medio de un tender de segunda ronda y a DeMarcus Lawrence con una etiqueta franquicia no-exclusiva, diría que Dallas hizo un buen trabajo quedándose con sus prometedores jóvenes de la línea defensiva.

Tell me what you think about “Cowboys en Español: El Futuro de David Irving y DeMarcus Lawrence” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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